When Liverpool snapped up promising young Brazilian Philippe Coutinho for a fee in the region of £8.5 million opinion seemed to be split on the young lad.
Whilst many maintained it was an excellent deal for a player with bags of the technical quality that Brendan Rodgers desires others were unsure. With doubts over his consistency and slight frame many felt this could go either way.
However now there is no doubt; and those whose glasses were half full in January have been proven correct. Those whose glasses were half empty have since drank their poison and moved on.
The diminutive creator has been sensational for The Reds since arriving at Anfield and left many wondering how Liverpool got a 21-year-old with this much talent for such a low price.
Coutinho is therefore also acting as a beam of light for Liverpool fans. As while you can be sure Liverpool are happy with the new arrivals at the club, all of which seem astute pick-ups by Rodgers and co, much of this summer has unfortunately revolved around the sulking of a certain Uruguayan forward.
So knowing that Coutinho looks ready to be one of the Premier League’s star players next term should be a beacon for which Liverpool aim for.
And the faith the fans have in his ability to be the sides leader next campaign is now beyond doubt.
It has been revealed by the Liverpool official website that when it comes to what people will have on the back of their Liverpool replica kits next season Coutinho is the top-dog.
Beating off competition from the likes of Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge (we doubt any body was brave enough to get Suarez on their back) the Brazilian’s name and number ‘10’ will adorn the rear of 43% of the shirts sold by the club shop.
It is a true demonstration of how impressed Liverpool fans have been in the relatively brief period that Coutinho has been at the club; and an indicator of just how important a player he is going to be next season.
I know it, the fans know it and Brendan Rodgers knows it. The other 19 Premier Leage teams would do well to get clued up as well on the shirt selling machine.
image: © Dean Jones